South African bottle shops and tavern owners pleaded with the government not to push them into poverty with a new alcohol ban ahead of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) on Tuesday if the country moves to Level 2 soon. locking.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s acting spokesperson Tyrone Seale told the South African that the NCC was holding a meeting on Tuesday.

When asked if the NCC would discuss the lockdown restrictions at the meeting, Seale said: “The NCCC is meeting today as part of its regular meetings. The program remains focused on the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ”Seale said.

There has been an increase in Covid-19 infections in the country in recent weeks with 2,383 new coronavirus infections recorded during the 24-hour cycle. This brings the cumulative number of cases to 1,637,848. 72 other people have died from complications related to COVID, bringing the national death toll to 55,874.

Amid growing concerns about a tougher level of lockdown, alcohol traders have called on the government to think about the thousands of township households that will be affected by possible alcohol restrictions before making any decisions.

Alcohol traders ask NCCC not to enforce new alcohol ban

“We have already had a total of 20 weeks of alcohol bans and many of our members have been forced to close their doors forever,” said Lucky Ntimane, head of the National Liquor Traders Council.

“It will take some of these families generations to get out of poverty, and there is no vaccine against poverty. Banning alcohol is not an effective strategy to fight Covid-19. People don’t stop drinking when you ban alcohol, they just find other channels to buy from. It is in fact a gift to the illicit trade, to the detriment of the legal companies created for many years, ”declared Ntimane.

“We can all see that when the sale of alcohol is prohibited, illicit traders take the opportunity to raise their prices and find new customers. At the rate we’re going, the whole alcohol trade will eventually go underground. Why does the government want to punish companies that comply with Covid-19 security measures and liquor license conditions, while making criminals richer? “.

Lucky Ntimane – National Council of Alcohol Traders

The NLTC has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa to request an urgent meeting before the NCCC’s next decision, to discuss more effective measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

“We know that vaccination should be the top priority, but there is a lot we can do in the meantime to help,” Ntimane said.

“Taverners has worked with the alcohol industry to dramatically improve compliance with Covid-19 protocols and liquor license conditions. We increased compliance from 75% in October last year to 89% in the last audit. ”

“The problem at the moment is not alcohol, it is the people who are tired of listening to the authorities’ instructions and not behaving properly,” Ntimane said.

“We are helping to spread the message that now is the time for maximum vigilance.”

He said that through industry body AWARE.org, a total of 40,000 packs of PPE had been distributed in taverns, along with disinfectant and educational materials to raise awareness of the risks of COVID-19 and the need for maximum vigilance.

The organization had also distributed food packages to 20,000 taverns during the lockdown, in addition to donations of PPE to 25 hospitals, representing a total investment of R145 million by the industry.

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Source: www.thesouthafrican.com
This notice was published: 2021-05-25 12:18:50

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